Gentrification: Yep, it's still happening

If a local lobbyist group has its way, Tempe residents living in a location paying below average rent may soon see an increase in their monthly statement or experience displacement from their current homes — with little or no reparations.

A few months ago, city council member Kolby Granville introduced legislation that would require developers who acquire land where people currently reside with the intention of development to reserve a specific amount of money or rooms that is equivalent to 1/10 of the those who would be displaced, according to a Facebook post on Granville’s office Facebook page.

The legislature was tabled by the Tempe City Council and will not be discussed until March 2015. Meanwhile, a different bill, SB1072, which is classified as a moderate partisan bill, has been passed onto the House CMA Committee, where it will be discussed and "will probably pass," according to Granville, via his Facebook status.

SB1072 would not require developers to reimburse those who are displaced for any losses that they would sustain. This bill would force residents out of lower priced neighborhoods, replacing their affordable housing with expensive high-rise luxury apartments.

For ASU students and the residents who have been living around campus for years before the gentrification of Tempe gained momentum, the rising costs of living have been detrimental. While at one point it was possible to live off campus in a reasonably priced apartment or house, this is becoming a thing of the past.

Many students cannot afford to live in the luxury apartments that are gaining popularity around campus. A large portion of students, especially those who are attending from out-of-state, are dependent upon the guarantee of affordable living. Most students are not supported by their parents' wallets, therefore they are paying for their accommodations out of pocket.

This phenomenon forces students to move into neighborhoods where the rent is far more affordable. The presence of students in neighborhoods has encouraged local law enforcement to further monitor neighborhoods around campus with programs like "Safe and Sober," which creates a toxic environment for residents who have been living in Tempe for longer than these students.

With students moving into surrounding neighborhoods, rent in these areas increases to ensure that rental properties are respected. This encourages land owners who may have previously charged a lower price to increase their properties rent to match the climate of the surrounding housing market.

If Tempe City Council is not conscious of this change and is unable to find a way to protect the residents and students who live and work in the city, what makes our area unique and interesting will be lost. Much like San Francisco, New York City and many other cities that gentrification has eliminated the working class from to create a playground for the upper class, Tempe will be in danger of losing the charm that makes it a worthwhile place to reside.

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